Though one of the most important components of personal finance planning, estate planning is something that many investors are all too willing to put off for another day.
Are investors getting the message on the importance of estate planning?
When asked what issue for which they would like help from a financial advisor, the highest percentage of investors (34 percent) recently surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner responded “estate planning.” This is almost twice as much as the second most frequently-cited issue, “Social Security benefits.” (19 percent).
Estate planning is one of the most important components of personal financial planning. An estate plan can ensure assets are divided in keeping with an investor’s wishes, and can help minimize the amount of taxes due on an estate. Estate planning can also provide for dependent children, direct end-of-life care and award power of attorney should an investor become incapable of managing his or her finances.
Not surprisingly, interest in receiving help from a financial advisor about estate planning increases with household income. While 30 percent of respondents with household income under $100,000 indicated they would like to consult with a professional about estate planning, the percentage increases to 38 percent among investors with household income exceeded $200,000.
This speaks to a common misconception that estate planning is only for the wealthy, but without an estate plan, may miss the opportunity to specify what happens to their possessions and investments when they are gone, or to provide for dependent children and direct end-of-life care. “Everyone needs a plan,” consumer advocate Eleanor Blayney offered in a statement issued by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.
And yet, our research finds, estate planning is something that many investors are all too willing to put off for another day. A February Millionaire Corner survey found more than 60 percent of investors ages 40 and younger said they do not have an estate plan. But in our May survey, 33 percent of those under 40–just slightly fewer than baby boomers and seniors--said it is something they would like to be helped with by a financial advisor.
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Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.